The Exceptional Grain + Blended Malt

It is pretty ballsy to call yourself “exceptional” but the folks over at Craft Distillers aren’t shy about who they are and what they are doing. And you can’t fault Don Sutcliffe, managing director of Craft Distillers, a 35 year veteran of distilled spirits with Willie Phillips, 23 years managing director of The Macallan for being confident they know their stuff.

So what a treat to try two of their early offerings as part of our monsoon malts & more evening in Mumbai.

The Exceptional Blended Grain Scotch Whisky 43%

  • Nose – Again, like the Borders, clearly grain but not at all harsh, a bit dusty, sweet, mono-aromatic, a little green freshness, then aniseed, light spice
  • Palate – Very soft, light coffee, almost sparkly, quite lovely
  • Finish – Cinnamon candy, lasts

Overall on the palate it kept shifting, sweet, then reveals more, slowly unfurling. This is no harsh grain to go into blending, instead it is nuanced, soft and subtle. In short – most enjoyable.

Here’s what The Exceptional team have to say:

A blend of remarkable aged grain whiskies, including a barrel of 30-year-old from the Carsebridge Distillery, long since closed. Blended by Willie Phillips, formerly of The Macallan; finished in first-fill sherry casks. Subtle, elegant, authentically individual, with great structure. (750ML/43%abv) $100.  

The Exceptional Blend Small Batch Scotch Whisky 43%

  • Nose – Biscuits, lemon cream, almost like Jim Jams, then a slightly sour quality on the nose before returning to sweet
  • Palate – Quite thin on the palate, spice, zesty and very sweet
  • Finish – There but.. sweet, edging towards almost being too sweet

Overall next to the remarkably good grain, we were not quite so enthusiastic. This doesn’t mean it is a bad dram – far from it. However is it truly exceptional? Something so exquisite you would remember it above all others? Hmm…

The most remarkable element are the aromas which are most pleasing and in harmony, even as they shift between different dimensions. However the palate, while exceedingly nice, missed depth and complexity. At least for us with our wee sample.

Here’s what The Exceptional team have to say:

Mature grain whiskey from North British, Strathclyde, and Cameron Bridge distilleries blended with selected barrels of aged, malt whisky from 11 distilleries, including a 30-year-old Macallan. Deep and layered complexity. Superb whisky. (750ML/43%abv)  $120

Overall, there was no doubt the grain was our favourite and genuinely stood out. The blended malt was exceedingly good but not quite what we at least would call exceptional – a pity for the range of whiskies that went into its making.

Yet it was completely worth the experience and I’m looking forward to future opportunities to see where these gents go with their experiments.

Other whiskies sampled in our Mumbai monsoon malts evening included:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Sheringham William’s White Double Distilled Grain 2015 45%

With Crown Royal’s flying off the shelf – irrespective of whether it is the now coveted Northern Harvest Rye or not – attention is shifting to Canada with speculation… is it the new ‘wild west’ of whisky?


In steps a new ‘breed’ of upstarts! They may not have age, they may not have pedigree, but they have a whole lotta passion for craft fine spirits.

This half-bottle was brought back on a whim by one of our Whisky Ladies from her recent trip to BC. It was without a doubt the surprise of the night! Read on…

Sheringham ‘William’s White’ double distilled grain 2015 Batch 1308 45%

  • Nose – Yeast, liquorice, woody sawdust, cherry – like cough syrup, a definite sweetness, toasty, nutty, light, wet barley, almonds, butter cream, earthy, but nit unpleasant
  • Palate – Very fresh, light, sweet, perfumed, like sourdough starter, grapefruit, sour curd
  • Finish – Burn
  • Comments “Toasted ghee in a glass”

The definite surprise of the evening. Distinctly different. Never having even touched wood…

Here’s what the folks at Sheringham have to say:

William’s White is our White Whisky inspired by the high quality, smooth clear whisky that was once produced in our area. Bright aromas of sweet grains with a clean and slightly spicy flavour.

To be enjoyed; as a remarkable sipping whisky or in your favourite cocktail, in place of rye or bourbon.

Made from B.C. Red Fife Wheat, B.C. organic white wheat & B.C. malted barley.

If this is what their new make spirit is like, am quite interested to see what they produce in 2018 – their target date for release of their 1st whisky!

Other whiskies sampled in our Whisky Ladies session in November 2015 included:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: